Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Water Management during the May/June drought

We received our first substantial rainfall on Monday June 11th of .95.  We had only received .15" of rain since May 5th which was creating a number of issues for our turf and facility.  We base our water budget on historical data.  We were under budget for the fiscal years ending at the end of March in both 2009, 2010,and 2011.  2012 showed a marked increase in our water costs of nearly 20K over budget due to the prolonged dry period in July/August of last summer.  Our rainfall for May has all but dried up and our temperatures were at least 5-6 degrees above normal, not a good combination.  If our irrigation system is set at just average levels of use and all of our heads are turned on, we can apply up to 300,000-400,000 gallons a night.  We do not manage our system that way.  In an effort to manage both the cost of the water we apply as well as being good environmental stewards of our water use, we limit some areas from receiving water on a regular basis.  Our hope is that we receive an inch of rain a week which usually keeps these areas looking good.

We keep the middle of our course watered on each hole.  Basically, the tees, fairways, first cut of rough, greens and surrounds.  We also water our flower beds every other day and the areas within the close proximity of the clubhouse.  Our outer rough heads between holes are used every other day and we only use about 1/2 of these rough heads on any given night in a hope that rain will fall.  In the last few days as our water usage continued to increase, we began to shut off some heads off of the tees and reduced the deeper rough completely.  Our usage this billing cycle is up 400% from our budget number of $ 5K.  We have been running nightly cycles that you would normally see in the middle of July.

Our efforts to improve our water use includes using wetting agents and water penetrants which will improve out water holding capability and water penetration into the soil.  We have completed applications on tees, greens and some select green surrounds.  We will probably begin to make applications to all of our greens surrounds and fairways to improve our water's ability to get to our turf's roots.  Our trend for the summer is not looking good after this past cycle but as you know with weather, that can change very quickly with some timely rain.  Our goal is to have healthy turf by using enough water to keep the turf in our main play areas active and growing.  Emerald green everywhere does not fit into the budget that we have to manage and does not make for a golf course that plays well.  It is also not the healthiest way to grow grass.  Moist, wet conditions provide for poor playing conditions and increase and encourage turf damage from play and increases the potential for disease.
Rain from a previous storm in 09.  I wish our lakes were full.

No comments: